Elton + DCW
A rather noisy day spent along the A52 with a visit to a square bordering Leicestershire and a revisit to Elton on the Hill itself to fill in some gaps on the atlas and that was achieved with some success. The sun shone intermittently during the morning and Common Blue and Small Copper made brief appearances and a Dock Bug Coreus marginatus and Wasp Beetle Clytus arietus caught our attention.
NBN Atlas for Dock Bug suggests we are pretty much at the northern edge of its range. The Wasp Beetle is in the Cerambycidae – the longhorn beetles but this one’s aren’t especially flamboyant.
The A52 verge had been unnecessarily mown over its full width but some plants were still managing to flower including a striking patch of Ragged Robin Lychnis flos-cuculi.
This are also held several small populations of Bur Chervil Anthriscus caucalis with its hooked hairs on the fruits.
It’s quite easy to overlook galls when the primary purpose is to find as many species of plant as possible but when Dave’s beady eyes are on the case, I allow myself the occasional diversion. This is the gall of the aphid Cryptosiphum artemisiae on Mugwort.
Buckthorn Rhamnus cathartica is the plant that Brimstone butterflies use as a food plant but this one showed no sign of any munching. I find it mildly strange that the butterfly seems to occur everywhere but the food plant is rather local. On the other hand some of the scarcest butterflies use food plants that are abundant and widespread.
Elder Sambucus nigra is not a very long-lived plant but this one looks to be as ancient as they get.
Plant of the day came right at the end as the rain and chilly breeze got going. Round-leaved Cranesbill Geranium rotundifolium would definitely have passed me by. I still have to look very carefully at many Geraniums to decide on a name and this one’s jizz did not jump out as being anything special (except the leaves were held at an odd angle – though that is not a identification criterion) but it did have the red-tipped glandular hairs on the petiole (leaf stalks).
It is a Nottinghamshire Rare Plant Register species which points out that although it is native in southern Britain, it is introduced here and it occurs on dry waste ground.